Our Streets: Unmasked

Commission Opportunity

Calling budding fiction writers! We’re excited to offer a fiction writing commission to a small number of young writers (aged 17 to 30) inspired by documenting and exploring the changing faces of the places we live as they take off their masks and wake from their lockdown slumber.

Our streets and neighbourhoods are our friends… Places have personalities and characters, and all of them, over this past year, have been affected– it’s like we’ve been socially distancing from them as much as people and we don’t quite recognise them anymore. But they’re going to be changing again soon. The smiling shopfronts will soon be welcoming us in; the open arms of our favourite cafes and restaurants will invite us to sit and chat over noodles or cake. Libraries will feel like somewhat exciting places to hang out. Our parks might be just as noisy, if not more, but how we interact in them will change too. As will our high streets and the streets we live on.  They will be ours again.

The brief…

We want to commission fiction pieces that reflect the changing faces of a street, shopping hub, or community of your choice, as they ease out of lockdown with us.

You’ll visit your chosen location on three dates and gather inspiration for three short pieces reflecting something of these changes in your narrative/s.

The dates:

  • 16th March – we’re still in the silence of lockdown and the streets and shops are lonely
  • 12th April – the shops and high streets are open, and our places are talking again
  • 20th May – social contact is allowed again! For the first time since before Christmas

Your pieces can be interconnected by characters and themes, or just by place. They might be one story told in three parts, or over three different periods of time. For inspiration, you might take photos, record audio on your smartphone, or chat to a shopkeeper. You might sit in a café, when it’s possible again, and see the you from your first visit walking past the window. The world is your oyster!

Chosen micro-commissions
You’ll receive advice and editorial guidance, a small fee (known when the number of commissions is decided) and, you’ll have your work made into a podcast! This is a great opportunity for fledgling writers, interested in a creative challenge and focus, to get support, and have something great for CVs, and to develop future interests in writing.

Deadline for application: As soon as possible (cut off 12 noon 11th March)
Send us… a sample of your fiction writing (up to 800 words) and a brief proposal (200 words max) including where you think you’d like to set your work and why. And how you might tackle the commission and what interests you about it. We are looking for each piece to be between 600 and 1000 words (but this is not set in stone!)

Send to: fiction@hivesouthyorkshire.com with your name, age, the town you live in and the subject line: Streets unmasked
If you’re outside of South Yorkshire, but in the not too distant north and really want to pitch, go on then, we’d still love to hear from you.

Shop photo: Oxfam Sheffield, courtesy of Tim Dennell

WordHatch Doncaster

Aged 14 to 19 in Doncaster with a creative itch to scratch!?

WordHatch is a taster programme of relaxed, fun and free creative writing workshops for young people in Doncaster.

You don’t have to think you’re a great writer to attend. Everyone is welcome from those with a hobby interest in writing or words, to those who dream of being a writer.

We’d particularly love to hear from anyone who might be feeling a bit isolated at the moment, or in need of a creative wellbeing boost!

Sessions will be aimed at sparking ideas through fun writing exercises and building confidence, and creative skills and interests, in writing (and not about spelling, punctuation and grammar!)

We also want to encourage more young people from Doncaster into the Hive young writers’ network (we are a lovely bunch!)

And, to top things off, at the end of the project we’ll be publishing a little book from WordHatch with your work in it!

Running the sessions will be writers Vicky Morris (and sometimes Nik Perring). Both have worked for many years with younger writers building skills and confidence, and both have loads of great ideas and ways to get you writing! They’ll also tell you more about opportunities open to young writers aged 14+ in the region and beyond.

We hope the project will feed into a new Doncaster Young Writers group (which has been on hiatus for too long!).

Interested? (go on, you know you want to!)
The programme will have a limited number of places to keep things supportive on Zoom, so do get in touch soon so you don’t miss out! (There’ll be a waiting list for a further programme too if we do get more numbers than we can support this time)

Email: info@hivesouthyorkshire.com with your name, age, and writing interests with ‘WordHatch Doncaster’ in the subject
Starts: Saturday March 6th 11.30am to 1.15pm (1.45 hours) and runs for 5 weeks (we might change this to an evening in the week after a chat with the group)
Where: On Zoom! Participants are welcome to turn cameras off after check-in. Safeguarding will be in place and parents will be required to fill in a brief form.

WordHatch is a series of creative writing taster programmes aimed at reducing isolation, and building connections, confidence and wellbeing through the transformative power of words! Kindly supported by South Yorkshire Community Foundation, Well Doncaster, St Leger Homes Doncaster, New College Doncaster & The National Lottery Local Connections Fund.

Lauren at Kendal Poetry Festival

We’re delighted that Hive young poet, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith, is reading from her debut upcoming poetry pamphlet, Ugly Bird (The Poetry Business) at the Kendal Poetry Festival on Saturday 28th February alongside fellow New Poet Prize winners Lucy Holt and Gboyega Odubanjo.

The festival will take place on Zoom from Friday 19th to Sunday 28th February 2021. From early morning writing workshops with the festival directors, through to evening events with international poetry stars, every day is packed with readings, talks, open mics, panel discussions, talks, stage shows and more.

Festival directors, Kim Moore and Clare Shaw on the festival:

Though we can’t be together in Kendal this year, our festival retains its local flavour, as our Guerrilla Poetry project brings poetry into the heart of the town centre. And young people are still at the core of our festival – members of Dove Cottage Young Poets will perform alongside our guest poets, and the festival features a Young Poet, Young Musician and Young Blogger in Residence – and in 2021, our first Young Artist in Residence.

These are difficult, distant times, but poetry brings us together. Whether it’s your first time at our festival or whether you’ve been before, whether you’re in Kendal or Canada, Windermere or Wisconsin, we’re happy to have you with us.

Tickets range from £0 to £5 for readings, and £16.50 to £45 for workshops. There are a limited number of £60 festival passes are also available, giving access to all events, excluding workshops.

For everything Kendal Poetry Festival visit www.kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk

Hive Online Fiction programme

Hive Fiction programme for writers (17-30s) – take your writing to the next level 

Writing can be a lonely and a tricky business to navigate, whether you’re starting out or have been at it a while. It’s difficult to know where to get feedback, or if what you’re writing makes the grade. And then there’s what to do with a story once you’ve finished.

If you’re an aspiring short story writer, or novelist, keen to take your craft to the next level, Hive is running an online fiction starting Tuesday 2nd February 2021, offering an immersive set of six workshops to help, inspire and guide you to getting where you want to be with your writing.

Join prize-winning author, editor, and short story writer, Nik Perring, for all things fiction, and:

  • Write – through a range of exercises you’ll generate great ideas leading to great short fiction you will want to polish and send to magazines and journals
  • Identify and work towards your writing goals
  • Focus on the mechanics of fiction writing such as creating compelling and believable characters, convincing dialogue and description, and strong plots
  • Learn how to edit your work to make it publication-ready. The tricks of identifying the small changes that can turn something good into something brilliant
  • Receive one-to-one feedback on work and tips and insights into publishing routes and opportunities

Who’s it for?
The programme is for young and emerging fiction writers, aged 17 to 30. Our focus is normally South Yorkshire but, as the programme is on Zoom, we are happy to hear from writers from further afield who would like to take their writing further. We’re always keen to hear from people who feel like they wouldn’t normally access this kind of opportunity too.

You might lack direction, sticking power, or confidence. You might have a project you want to get stuck into, or want to sharpen your skills, or focus on honing your work, or just having a regular reason to write. All levels, genres and interests welcome.

Intro session Tuesday 2nd February 6.30 to 8.30pm – Then weekly sessions on Tuesdays or Thursdays (depending on group interest)

Cost: £30 for six sessions, a one-to-one tutorial, and feedback. If cost is a barrier, please let us know in your application. Places are limited.
Why so cheap? The programme is subsidised as a way to reach new people at this difficult time, and remove barriers to developing as a writer.

To Apply: Send up to to 4xA4 pages of work (but no pressure if you don’t have much to send), and up to 300 words saying what your interests are, where you are with your writing, and how you’d like the programme to help (also include your age, date of birth, town you live in and postcode) – by midnight 27th Jan 2021 to fiction@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Nik Perring is a short story writer and the author of five books. His work has appeared in many fine places all over the world including Smokelong, Word Riot, 3 :AM Magazine, Across the Margin, and Short Fiction Journal. It’s also been read on the radio, performed on the stage, printed on fliers and appeared, with Dave Eggars’, on a High School Distance Learning course in the US.

Nik is also an editor, mentor, and a teacher of writing, working with both adults and young people, everywhere from primary schools and high schools to universities and the BBC. He’s a key facilitator for Hive South Yorkshire and was Writer in Residence for Sheffield Libraries’ year of Reading 2020.

Hive & Sheffield Year of Reading 2020

One of things we love to do the most at Hive is reach out and work with great partners. THrough 2020 Hive’s own Nik Perring has been enjoying the role of Writer-in-Residence for Sheffield Libraries’ Year of Reading.

We had many activities planned to work with young people in Sheffield for this exciting programme of events but, like for everyone else, we’ve had to adapt what we’ve been able to deliver. Sometimes that’s meant rescheduling things, other times we’ve been able to move into something digital. While that was a little scary and unknown, it’s something we’ve embraced and something that’s been very fruitful. It’s certainly shown us that we’ll definitely be doing more online delivery in future.

Digitally, Nik ran many workshops for young people, from schools to community groups – including masterclasses; writing for competitions; adventuring into writing for the libraries’ Adventure Festival, and looking at how to be a professional writer. There was reflection and roleplay, rules and rebellion.

We’re also worked on two publications with the Children in Care Council, The Can in Can’t, and an end of year intergenerational project, Dear 2021, in association with the BBC’s Novels that Changed the World.

Nik says, ‘The coolest thing about these workshops was the opportunity to work with young writers new to the network. It’s great showing them what they can do with the talents they already have, as well as what the Library Service and Hive can offer them.’

We were thrilled with how the sessions and projects went and it was wonderful to see so many new faces who were able to attend including those living a little further afield.

Stay tuned to see what’s coming up, and visit the Sheffield Libraries’ page here 

“I genuinely enjoyed how there was different exercises to look at different things and I also liked how I was introduced to new pieces of writing. I also never thought about using images as inspiration which is something I will be doing from now on.”

“I really enjoyed the variety of different prompts in this workshop and the feedback given was great.”

Hive have been delighted to support Sheffield Library’s Year of Reading 2020 as part of its young people’s strand of activity including the Hive New Writer Prize – for 14-19 years and part of the Love Sheffield Writing competition

Sheffield Year of Reading 2020 is a 12 month, citywide celebration of creativity and the written word. Reading is the key that unlocks the door to life’s riches. It helps us feel better, discover more, and unleash our individual creativity.

This year people from across our city came together in libraries, schools, museums, parks, and then a lot of living rooms and bedrooms, to share the simple joy of words. It was literary and silly, it was big and small, it was on the page and in our computer speakers.

More on Sheffield Year of Reading

Using Philosophical Enquiry to Spark Creative Writing

How can philosophical enquiry lead to creativity, and particularly, new writing ideas and approaches?

Join us for a practical workshop with writer and facilitator, Rosie Carnall, who will encourage you to try out philosophical techniques, sparked by creative writing, to open up new channels for your own writing.

If you like writing and know nothing about philosophy but are curious, this is a workshop for you!

Wed 20th Jan 5 to 7pm | Zoom
Who for: aged 14 to 19 & we also hope to do something for 19-30s at a later date so do get in touch if that’s you!
Booking: info@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Rosie Carnall is a creative facilitator, based in Sheffield, who uses Philosophy for Communities with people of all ages to get them thinking, talking and writing creatively. Rosie has an MA in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam University and a novel in progress. She’s also a Creative Mentor with children’s literary charity, Grimm & Co.


Putting together a poetry pamphlet masterclass

Young Poets Masterclass: Putting together a poetry pamphlet for submission
Sunday 31st Jan – 11.00 to 3/3.30pm on Zoom.
Application deadline: Midnight saturday 16th January 2021

Are you a young poet between the ages of 17 and 30? Do you have a number of strong poems that you’d like to shape into a pamphlet submission for the New Poets Prize Poetry Business pamphlet competition, or another submission, but feel unsure how to go about it?

Hive have teamed up again with purveyors of fine contemporary poetry, The Poetry Business, to offer an intensive writing and editing masterclass for young poets in the north at a stage where they would like to take their poetry further.

This is an exciting opportunity to look at shaping a body of work and gain advice and guidance from poet and New Poets Prize editor, Suzannah Evans. Vicky Morris, who’s mentored several New Poets winners from Hive, will also be there to give tips and answer questions.

The intensive two-part workshop (with a break) will involve some warm-up writing exercises, looking at existing pamphlets and discussing the editing and ordering of poems. You’ll consider how you can strengthening and building on a potential pamphlet submission, wherever you’re thinking of submitting to.

In the run-up to the masterclass, participants will be posted out a Poetry Business Pamphlet, which they will be asked to read, and feedback on as part of the session’s activities. Expect a fast paced, supportive and easy-going atmosphere.

For more about the New Poets Award (deadline 1st March 2021), click here.

Who can apply?
Priority will be given to poets aged 17 to 24 years of age on 1st March 2020 (the deadline for the New Poets Prize), and living, or with a home address, in Yorkshire or the nearby north (inc. Derbyshire, NW Lincolnshire & Manchester). If that’s not you, but you are interested in this opportunity, do drop us a line anyway in case there is still room or we can signpost you to further opportunities in future). We’re also happy to hear from poets 25 to 30 (again subject to space).

If you are unsure whether you’re at a stage where you’re ready to apply, drop Vicky a line to discuss at: vicky@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Cost: The Masterclass costs just £10 and includes a Poetry Business Pamphlet worth £5/£7.50. Places limited. (We can reduce this for a number of places if it’s in any way a barrier so do let us know) We are always keen to hear from young writers from diverse backgrounds, and those who feel they wouldn’t normally access this kind of opportunity.

To apply: Send 5 to 7 of your best poems of any length (in one word document), each starting a new page, with a statement of interest on the first page – no longer than 400 words, to include: why you would like to be considered for this opportunity, your experience of poetry so far, any writing aspirations you’d like to share, and anything else you’re like us to know. Also include your date of birth and where you reside in the north.

Send your application to poetrypamphlet@hivesouthyorkshire.com by midnight the evening of 16th January 2021

The New Poets Prize is a pamphlet competition for writers between the ages of 17 and 24 (inclusive). This prize runs alongside the renowned International Book & Pamphlet Competition organized by The Poetry Business, which has now been established for 35 years. Previous winners of the New Poets Prize have included several South Yorkshire young poets including Warda Yassin, Georgie Woodhead and Lauren Hollingsworth Smith.

The Poetry Business publishes books, pamphlets and audio under the Smith/Doorstop imprint, and new imprint The New Poets List. They also publish literary magazine The North, and run Writing Days, the Writing School, and the International Book and Pamphlet Competition.

Suzannah Evans lives in Sheffield. Her pamphlet Confusion Species was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition and her debut collection Near Future was published by Nine Arches Press in 2018. She works as assistant editor for the Poetry Business. Suzannah was the winner of a Gladstone’s Library residency in October 2019 for Near Future, and her poem ‘Helpline’ was Poem of the Week on The Guardian. Her second poetry collection is forthcoming in 2022.

Vicky Morris is a poet, mentor and editor based in Sheffield. She’s been published in places like The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, The North and Under the Radar. She won first place in the Prole Laureate Competition 2019 and the Aurora Poetry Prize 2020, and was one of ten shortlisted in the Magma Pamphlet Competition 2020. Vicky has built young writers’ provision in South Yorkshire for many years, founding Hive in 2016. She won a Northern Writers Award in 2014 and is currently a contributing editor at Poetry Wales.

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Dear 2021…

We’re delighted to be holding a copy of… Dear 2021! – The Start of It, a Sheffield Year of Reading Project (Sheffield Library Service) in association with the BBC’s Novels That Shaped Our World and Hive South Yorkshire.

We’ve so enjoyed being part of this wonderful project and are proud to have supported the involvement of many young writers and voices. Through poems, letters, stories (even an email to a house plant!) this little book documents a key time in collective human history, a record of our hopes, dreams and wishes for the year ahead, and some reflection on the one we’ve just endured.

The book is a limited edition but will be available for a short period through Sheffield Library Service and available as an archive and for reading at local libraries (more info to follow)

Foreword by Nik Perring
2020 has been the strangest of years. For some, it’s brought space and peace, for others it’s been rubbish. And then, there are those for whom it’s been the worst imaginable. Whatever our experience, we all have a story within it, and people will look back on this time, as with all great crises past – wars, disasters, epidemics, and such, and ask: What was it really like to live through it?

Just as we read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, in part, to see what life was like in the 1840s, this collection is something to be kept: a record, a time capsule of words, if you will, of 2020. And, like Scrooge on that fateful Christmas night, we’ve taken the opportunity to look both backwards at the year, and forwards in our hopes and wishes for the unknown one ahead.

I’m incredibly proud of this document – a representation of forty-four good people of Sheffield, and beyond. This year has given me, and Sheffield Library Service, the chance to reach new people, to give them a voice and, through this and the videos broadcast as part of this project, perhaps the most important thing of all – an audience.

Nik Perring
Writer in Residence

With thanks to: All at Sheffield Library Service’s Year of Reading; Libraries Connected; The Arts Council; the BBC’s Novels that Shaped Our World; Alexis Filby, Steven Johnson, Helen Fidler, Nick Partridge, Alex Holyoake, Nik Perring, Vicky Morris and all who took part.

Facilitation & Editing: Nik Perring & Vicky Morris
Collation and design: Vicky Morris
Cover illustration: Steven Johnson
(based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
The End of It is the title of the last chapter of A Christmas Carol.
The Start of It refers to us, and this coming year.
More about Sheffield Year of Reading here

Warda wins Women Poets’ Prize

A huge congratulations to a long-time member of the South Yorkshire young writers network and a Hive young poet – Warda Yassin, who has just been announced as one of three winners of the Women Poets’ Prize 2020, alongside Alisha Dietzman and Natalie Linh Bolderston – congratulations to all! The judges this year were Liz Berry, Malika Booker and Pascale Petit.

Out of 734 entries, the three have been chosen to receive a package of support including a cash bursary, mentorship, creative opportunities and practical support. This year’s mentors are: Mona Arshi, Isobel Dixon and Martha Sprackland.

Warda was beautifully announced by poet Liz Berry, at an event on 17th November 2020. Liz said:

It is heart-lifting to know that women are making such tender, ambitious and thrilling work, and the world of poetry is moving forwards in such capable, exciting hands. I’m so pleased to be announcing the name of our first winner, Warda Yassin. We greatly admired Warda’s poems, the lyrical grace, the clarity and vivid image-making. And we also loved the work she was doing with young women writers in her community, and through her work as a teacher. Sometimes when you lift a poet, you know in turn they will be lifting others, and that feels such a beautiful gift to pass on. So, many congratulations Warda, we’re all delighted for you and know you’re going to shine so brightly.

This wonderful news comes just weeks after Warda was announced as Sheffield Poet Laureate at Off the Shelf Festival of Words, by Sheffield ex-Lord Mayor, Magid Magid, taking the baton from poet and rapper Otis Mensah.

Warda runs Hive’s Mixing Roots project and is a member of Hive’s Poetry Collective. You can hear Warda reading recently with other fine young poets in the network as part of the Hive Sheaf Poetry Festival showcase this Saturday 21st Nov via this link (premiering at 1pm).

For more about the Rebecca Swift Foundation: www.rebeccaswiftfoundation.org @FoundationSwift

Photo courtesy of Timm Cleasby

Dear 2021, The Start of It…

Many of us will be haunted by the ghosts of 2020 – the strangest of years. We’re giving you the opportunity, the voice, and the audience to put them to bed.

Letters to 2021 takes the spirit of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and challenges you to exorcise the ghosts of 2020 by writing a letter to Donald Trump, the universe, Santa, the future – to someone or everyone, telling us what you want to change and the whys and hows.

In several related workshops Sheffield Year of Reading Writer in Residence Nik Perring, will show you the best ways of making your ideas, and desires, into brilliant poems, letters, or stories – and then he’ll show you how to shape them into pieces good enough to send up the chimney/out to the world.

A selection of the finished pieces will be collated into a special book and recorded to be broadcast via Sheffield Library Service’s Digital platform.

All levels of experience are welcome – we WANT YOUR WORDS!

FREE!  | Open to young people 14 to 19
Email: nikperring@hivesouthyorkshire.com to book
Workshops will take place on Crowdcast / Camera not needed
Workshops 5 to 7pm Tuesday 24th November, and Wednesday 2nd December

Hive are delighted to be supporting Sheffield Library’s Year of Reading 2020 as part of its young people’s strand of activity.

Sheffield Year of Reading 2020 is a 12 month, citywide celebration of creativity and the written word. Reading is the key that unlocks the door to life’s riches. It helps us feel better, discover more, and unleash our individual creativity.

This year people from across our city will come together in libraries, pubs, schools, living rooms, museums, parks, and many other venues to share the simple joy of words. It will be literary and silly, it will be big and small, it will be on the page and in the streets. In fact, it can be whatever you want it to be. There are lots of ways you can get involved, no matter what your experience or ability is.

More on Sheffield Year of Reading